Senate fails to pass teacher pay raise funding measure during late-night vote

The Oklahoma Senate passed a pay raise bill for teachers but failed to pass the bill that would fund the raise. (KOKH/Jordann Lucero)

OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) - During a late night at the Oklahoma State Capitol Wednesday, state senators tried to pass a bill that would raise revenue and allow a teacher pay raise. The plan did not work.

At 9 p.m., senators came back to the floor to debate and vote.

The bill that would call for a 12.7-percent raise for teachers passed the Senate easily. SB 133 only required a simple majority vote. Senators passed SB 133, 35 to 11.

The bill that would raise the revenue to pay for the raise, HB 1033xx, failed. It needed a 76-percent majority to pass, or 36 senators to sign on. The vote failed 34 to 12.

Senate leaders kept voting open for an hour and a half, hoping it would change.

The plan called for a $1 tax on packs of cigarettes, $0.06 tax on gas and diesel fuel, and increasing gross production tax on wells at 2 percent to 4 percent.

Teachers are planning a walkout to protest low wages. They’ve demanded an average $10,000 raise. The Oklahoma Education Association said the Senate’s plan would only provide an average $5,000 raise. The bills did not accommodate any other teacher demands.

“This is NOT the significant funding increase our schools need and our students deserve. Moreover, funding this plan means taking a revenue stream intended for health care. Contact your Senator to vote NO on SB1033 now!” the OEA said on Twitter while the vote was underway.

A teacher walkout is planned for April 2, unless lawmakers come up with pay solutions before then.

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